My Favourite Five Ads: Brian Coane

To celebrate the IPA's centenary this year, we are asking adland's finest to pick their top five ads from the past 100 years. This week Brian Coane, IPA Chairman for Scotland and Partner, Leith Agency adds a Scottish twist to his selection.

John Lewis, Always a woman

The John Lewis Christmas advert has become a national event, which is a testament to the power of advertising. But for me the step change in creativity that's made them the nation’s most talked about advertiser as well as the best loved retailer started here. It moved me to tears. It still does today. Life is short and love is all you need.

THINK!, Julie knew her killer

These days our roads are a lot safer than they were back in 1998 when this ad was released. And that's got a lot to do with advertising - powerful spots that have changed our behaviour. Ads like this one got me interested in working in advertising. It seems second nature now, but that's because advertising like this persuaded us to clunk-click on every trip.

Tennent, Whisky Galore

Growing up in Scotland there was healthy competition between Tennent’s and McEwan’s lager. My dad was a publican, so there was always a bit of discussion about who was winning the lager wars. This advert also made me aware of The Leith Agency. It was typical of the creative advantage Leith gave Tennent’s. The ad pays homage to Ealing comedy ‘Whisky Galore’. Shot in black and white, the real hero is a dog that uncorks a lager barrel with its teeth, spilling the amber nectar into a teetotaller’s mouth.

Irn-Bru, Snowman

Irn-Bru has a treasure-trove of great TV commercials but this could well be Scotland’s favourite. The ad is a parody of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’, but with a dark twist when the boy refuses to give the snowman a sip of his IRN-BRU. The brief for this one was to “Out-Christmas Coke” and it did that to such an extent that people would say that it wasn't Christmas until ‘The Snowman’ was on air.

St John's Ambulance, Save the boy

This advert made me book on a first aid course the same day I saw it. The film shows why it’s important to learn first aid. With a bit of interactivity it also teaches you some simple steps to take if you’re ever faced with having to make the difference between a life lost and a life saved. Powerful and highly effective.

The IPA are celebrating their centenary this year - join in the conversation on Twitter using #AdFest100 and #IPA100. You can catch up on all the photos, videos and other content from the IPA's Festival of British advertising here, including Sir Martin Sorrell, Sir Alan Parker and a virtual tour of the Exhibition.

Last updated 21 January 2022